Liam Rector

Liam Rector (1949-2007). Courtesy Best American Poetry weblog.

Liam Rector (November 21, 1949 - August 15, 2007) was an American poet, essayist, and educator.


Rector was born in Washington, D.C. As a young man he enrolled in several different colleges without completing a degree. Eventually he earned M.A. degrees from both the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[1]

He authored several volumes of poetry including The Executive Director of the Fallen World (University of Chicago, 2006), American Prodigal (Story Line, 1994), and The Sorrow of Architecture (Dragon Gate, 1984).

He co-edited (with Tree Swenson) On the Poetry of Frank Bidart: Fastening the voice to the page (University of Michigan, 2007), and edited The Day I Was Older: On the poetry of Donald Hall (Story Line, 1989).

Liam's class was one of my favorite experiences at the New School, as I'm sure it was for many others. He was a wonderful man and a terrific poet and teacher. I remember hearing him read at a PSA reading. He read last, I was bored and tired, and he blew the doors off the place. He just exuded a poetic gravitas, and I know few poets who read with such grace and class. I'll miss him.

Steve Roberts [2]

He administered literary programs at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), the National Endowment for the Arts, the Academy of American Poets, and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Rector founded and directed the graduate writing seminars at Bennington College in Vermont and taught at Columbia University, The New School, and Emerson College.

Rector committed suicide by shooting himself in his Greenwich Village apartment on August 15, 2007. [3]


Rector was awarded fellowships in poetry from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and received the Friend to Writers Award from PEN New England.[4]

The Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry is awarded annually by Briery Creek Press to honor the best emerging poets with their first full-length poetry publication.



  • The Sorrow of Architecture: Poems. Port Townsend, WA: Dragon Gate, 1984.
  • American Prodigal: Poems. Brownsville, OR: Story Line Press, 1994.
  • The Executive Director of the Fallen World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.


  • The Day I Was Older: On the poetry of Donald Hall. Santa Cruz, CA: Story Line Press, 1989.
  • On Frank Bidart: Fastening the voice to the page (edited with Tree Swenson). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2007.
Liam Rector "a poem of letting go"

Liam Rector "a poem of letting go"

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[5]

See alsoEdit



  1. Liam Rector 1949-2007, Poetry Foundation, Web, Nov. 20, 2012.
  2. Liam Rector: 1949 — 2007 A "cyber-tombeau" at Silliman's Blog by poet Ron Silliman includes comments, tributes, and links
  3. Rector, poet and teacher, kills self obituary from UPI on-line
  4. Liam Rector, Academy of American Poets,, Web, Feb. 2, 2012.
  5. Search results = au:Liam Rector, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Jan. 22, 2015.

External linksEdit

Audio / video
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. (view article). (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.